RIZIN boss responds to Spike Carlyle, lays out plans for featherweight GP

By Tom Taylor - February 9, 2021

RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara has responded to some recent comments from Spike Carlyle, and laid out plans for a Featherweight Grand Prix.

RIZIN, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, Spike Carlyle

Carlyle was recently released by the UFC after going 1-2 in the promotion’s featherweight division. After his release, he expressed interest in migrating to RIZIN because he’s always wanted to fight in Japan, where the promotion is based.

“The UFC was a great experience and great opportunity,” Carlyle said. “I loved it. But people who truly know me know that my heart’s desire has always been to fight in Japan, [and] that is my goal. I think God maybe ordained everything to happen as so because who knows if I would’ve won my next fight—which I know I would’ve won my next fight—or if I would’ve stayed with the UFC, I might never have the opportunity to go to Japan.

“I’m no longer a UFC fighter. I’m a free agent,” Carlyle added. “My dream and No. 1 desire is to fight for RIZIN, possibly Bellator because they co-host events and that way I can do the best of both worlds. The goal is to become a Japanese champion and fight the American champion, a RIZIN-Bellator combination so hopefully it comes together.”

In a statement to BJPENN.com’s Tom Taylor, Sakakibara responded to this interest from Carlyle. He admitted that he didn’t know much about Carlyle, but added that the American could be a good fit for RIZIN based on his interesting personality.

Sakakibara also peppered plans for a Featherweight Grand Prix into his statement.

“To be honest I do not know about him too much,” the RIZIN CEO said in response to Carlyle. “But I hear that he has a big desire and passion towards fighting in Japan which I appreciate. My matchmakers tell me that he is unique and is quite a character so he may be an interesting fighter to bring over here. Right now Japan is still closed off to international travelers but we have big plans once the boarders open up so Spike may be somebody to consider. We are planning a World GP at Featherweight starting in fall, and our team are constantly looking out for interesting fighters and champions across the globe who may fit the bill. Our world GP’s have always delivered exciting fights, and have produced champions that get recognition globally. We intend on doing the same this year.

“Whoever thinks they have what it takes to become the GP champion for 2021, please do not hesitate to each out to us!”

Do you think Spike Carlyle would be a good addition to the upcoming RIZIN Featherweight Grand Prix?

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Nobuyuki Sakakibara RIZIN FF